The year 2021 saw a modest economic recovery, with most industries returning to normalcy, particularly in the second half of the year. On the other hand, online gaming was a topic of substantial debate and discussion in the media. In India, the gaming sector is growing, and smartphones are playing an essential role in this growth.
The mobile gaming sector is among India’s fastest-growing sectors, thanks to cutting-edge technologies presently offered in smartphones. With the deployment of 5G technology in smartphones, the entire scenario is poised to change for the better. A notable part is that these are not the most expensive phones on the market—even some of the mid-range phones today are already 5G-enabled.
The outlook on mobile gaming, and smartphone usage for the same, has been extremely positive lately. KPMG reported that the online gaming sector is valued at Rs 13,600 crores in FY 2020–21, and it is predicted to more than double in size over the next four years, reaching a total market size of Rs 29,000 crores by FY 2025, with a compounded annual growth rate of roughly 21 per cent.
India presently has over 430 million mobile gamers, second to China, and the figure is expected to rise to 650 million by 2025. Moreover, a survey by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) indicated that mobile gaming now leads the Indian gaming business, accounting for more than 90 per cent of the $1.6 billion gaming market and is estimated to expand to $3.9 billion in value by 2025.
For the Indian gaming industry, new 5G-enabled, more affordable phones with premium chipsets and larger RAM will be the key game-changers.
The tremendous surge in smartphone adoption in India has catapulted Indian gaming into the mobile gaming era. Smartphones have become increasingly inexpensive and now come with powerful hardware capable of running games with medium-to-high system requirements. Smartphone manufacturers are also emphasising incorporating dedicated gaming capabilities in their latest smartphones and are releasing gaming-specific phones. They are also constantly working to improve phone performance, as any improvement in performance has a substantial impact on user experience and game quality via improved resolution, frame rates, and graphic cards.
Data suggest that the pandemic has also propelled the organic growth of digital games, with mobile app downloads rising by 50 per cent and user engagement increasing by 20 per cent. There has been a substantial increase in the use of gaming mobile websites and applications. Users in India have shown interest in games such as Ludo King, Cards, Cricket, and other sports and real money games. The number of online game players will have increased to 25 million in March 2021, up from 5 million in March 2020. Furthermore, India’s overall number of online gaming app users is estimated to be approximately 43.3 crores or nearly half of the country’s population between the ages of 15 and 64. What is also interesting to note is that real money cards or fantasy games currently constitute more than half of the online gaming industry’s revenue.
Smartphone popularity and quick digital payment adoption have established the finest framework for game players to try new games, casual and real money games. The best tools that helped online gaming companies expand and achieve the maximum number of game users for their games and platforms were seamless transactions and high-speed internet connections.
Experts predict that the current growth trend will continue in 2022. Due to advanced inventive games, concept-based games, money-making games, and technology advancement and usage, the online game industry will see another boom in 2022. In India, VR in gaming will take online games to the next level. The internet gaming sector in India will reach previously unexplored rural and semi-urban areas due to the recently observed surge in smartphone adoption in these untapped markets.
The author of the article is Amit Kushwaha, Head of Brand Strategy and PR, Gameskraft.